Saturday, June 28, 1980

Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” Charts: June 28, 1980

Originally posted June 28, 2011.

Joy Division formed in 1976 in Manchester, England. The band consisted of Ian Curtis (vocals), Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Peter Hook (bass), and Stephen Morris (drums). They become one of the most important post-punk bands for creating the template for goth music.

Ian Curtis, however, had problems. Epilepsy, a failing marriage, and depression led him to commit suicide in May 1980, on the eve of the band’s first American tour. In the wake of Curtis’ death, Joy Division hit the UK charts for the first time on June 28, 1980, with “Love Will Tear Us Apart”.

It was “definitely a pop single, albeit a rather dark, forlorn” TB one which was “clearly the work of a troubled soul.” BBC In Telegraph, Neil McCormack described it as “romantic fear and self-loathing wrapped up in a post-punk torch song.” MC “The song’s already fragile and desperate tone took on even greater poignancy” AL in light of the circumstances under which it charted.

The song climbed to #13 in the UK charts. It recharted twice more – in 1983 and in 1995 – both times reaching #19. It has achieved classic status, making the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of the Top 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll. It is also featured in the book The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era, 1954-1999.

Meanwhile, the band continued forth without Curtis under the moniker New Order, becoming one of the most important bands in shaping the sound of college rock in the 1980s.

Click here for official video.

  • DMDB page for “Love Will Tear Us Apart”
  • Joy Division’s DMDB music maker encyclopedia entry
  • BBC BBC Music’s “Sold on Song” Top 100 (2005)
  • HL Michael Heatley and Spencer Leigh. (1998). Behind the Song: The Stories of 100 Great Pop & Rock Classics. London, England: Blandford Books. Page 33.
  • AL Alan Lewens (2001). Popular Song – Soundtrack of the Century. Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 150.
  • MC Neil McCormack (3/13/09). “100 Greatest Songs of All Time
  • RS500 Rolling Stone’s “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” (12/04).
  • TB Thunder Bay Press. (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA. Page 180.